Found in Korea

Nam Holtz is a Korean adoptee who began a formalized search for her birth family and culture more than five years ago. With the help of a friend and director, Nam documented her return to Korea and today is working to produce her film, Found in Korea, based on her experience. During her 21-day visit to Korea, Nam traveled to three separate cities, retracing the steps of her infanthood, looking for foster family, birth family and other caregivers. What she found was more complicated and compelling than anything she could have initially anticipated. Nam says she hopes that Found in Korea can be a tool for adoptive families and adoptees to discuss birth family and adoption in more organic, natural ways. She also wants to expand the conversation and often limited narratives about the complexities of adoption.

We spoke with Nam on Tuesday, May 14, 2016 to ask some questions about her film, what she’s learned about adoption and the intricate web of strangers who have encouraged her to continue pursuing Found in Korea.

Holt International: You’ve been working on your film Found In Korea for more than 5 years. It’s both a film about adoption and also a very personal project, since it chronicles your search for birth family and birth culture. What has driven you to keep fighting to make this film for so long?

Nam Holtz: As I’ve been working on this film, I’ve become more involved in adoption communities and with other Korean adoptees and other adoption sources. I’m realizing there are some films out there that talk about adoption and are made to help people learn and heal, but there aren’t many.

I’ve received lots of emails and encouragement from people who have asked me to keep making this film as a resource for adoptees or adoptive families or just the greater public. I’ve also learned that just talking about adoption in an honest and open way can be difficult. Continue reading “Found in Korea”

Adoption Taught Me To Write My Own Story

If Holt adoptee Jean Powell ever met her birth parents, she would thank them. Here, she shares her reasons why. This story originally appeared on

by Jean Powell, Seattle, Washington

Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it. — Eckhart Tolle

Growing up Adopted

If I could somehow write a letter or have any form of contact with my birth parents, I would. Not for the reasons you might think… I have no desire to reconnect to or find my past. I’m completely at peace with whatever decision drove my biological parents to take the route they did.

My motivation for this interaction would be one of gratitude. I would heartfully give them kudos for having the courage to do what some would find shocking… Give their child up.

Adoption is a funny thing. It’s one of those “you didn’t know this about me” facts that makes people take pause when you tell them. I’m inevitably met with the awkward, “So do you know why you were given up for adoption?”

Truthfully, I don’t associate with that statement…To say I was given up implies I was unwanted. I’ve been blessed to feel anything but, and I have my parents to thank for that.

Adoption is difficult, long and deliberate; there are no accidents in this grand design. To know someone has gone through that much because they wanted you is extraordinary.

Think about what a love like that does to a person and the sense of belonging it gives them. If we can intentionally make those in our lives feel that way, how much could we empower those special people? I often thought that would be my challenge, to make sure I deliver that much worth to a future child, to give them the security and confidence they need to venture out and create excellent things in this world.

Continue reading “Adoption Taught Me To Write My Own Story”